Celebrity Health - Denise Van Outen

A photo of Denise Van Outen

"My organic lifestyle"

Denise Van Outen speaks to Liz Parry about her love of growing vegetables, charity challenges and reaching the big 40

"I want my daughter to be able to go outside and pick her own vegetables for dinner and to know where her food comes from"

Q: Is a healthy lifestyle important to you?

Denise: "It’s become more important as I’ve got older. I think I probably became more aware of my body and what I was eating when I hit my thirties. You begin to notice that it’s not so easy to shift weight if you’ve gained a few pounds. You have to work harder at it. Also I was trying to get myself healthy because I was hoping to become a mum. When you become a parent being healthy becomes even more important because you want to be around for your kids as long as possible."

Q: Do you try to eat a healthy diet?

Denise: "I do. But I’ve got to be honest,I’m not an angel. There are times when I fall down a little bit. I don’t have a sweet tooth, which is where I’m lucky. I’m much more of a savoury person. I’m not a big fan of cake or chocolate but I do like pick-and-mix sweets."

Q: What’s a typical day in your diet?

Denise: "Everyone says breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I understand that, but I never wake up hungry. Normally I can’t manage to eat much more than some fruit or a Greek yogurt for a high protein fix. I might have a banana or some mango. Occasionally I’ll have porridge and I’ll make some for me and my four-year-old daughter Betsy. Lunch might be salad or sushi and for dinner I might have a baked potato with vegetables or some chicken. I do like to treat myself to a Sunday roast sometimes."

Q: Do you ever buy organic food?

Denise: "I grow my own vegetables in my house in Kent. I do all the basics like potatoes, onions, sweet peas, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. I want my daughter to be able to go outside and pick her own vegetables for dinner and to know where her food comes from. It’s important to me that she eats good, healthy food. It’s something that we do together when she finishes school. We’ll go out to the vegetable patch and pick the veg that we’re going to eat that night."

Q: As a mum do you think it’s important to encourage parents to get their children to eat a healthier diet?

Denise: "Yes I think it’s important for parents to educate their children about their diet, definitely. I’m very fortunate that I have the space to be able to grow vegetables in my garden. I realise it might not be so easy for other people to do that. I think schools need to educate children a bit more about their diet too."

Q: Do you take any vitamins or supplements?

Denise: "I take a multivitamin and in the winter I top up my vitamin C. I like to think that my diet's pretty healthy and balanced and that I’m not lacking in anything."

Q: What kind of exercise do you do to stay in shape?

Denise: "I do a big charity challenge once a year. This November I’m doing a big cycle ride from Vietnam to Cambodia so I’ll soon be training for that. I need to make sure I’m in the best physical shape possible. When I was younger a lot of my friends went travelling when they left school but I never really did that because I was always working. So as I’ve got older I’ve felt that I’ve wanted to see a bit of the world and this is a good way of doing it. I can't be away for long periods of time obviously, because of my daughter, but the challenges don’t take longer than about eight days. You can get to see these amazing places without being away from home for too long."

Q: Do you ever feel pressure to stay slim and in shape because you’re always in the public eye?

Denise: "I think when you’re in the public eye, yes, you do become a lot more aware of how you look. But in a way that’s a good thing because I would rather be fit and healthy. I work in an industry where it’s important to keep in shape because a lot of the time you’re photographed and filmed and people can be very critical of how you look."

Q: How did you feel about turning 40 this year?

Denise: "I felt really open to the next decade. Things are good at the moment. It wasn’t something I was dreading at all. I don't feel that 40 is particularly old anyway. All of my friends who are 40 are just the same as they were when they were 30 to be honest. As you get older you start to like yourself a bit more and feel more confident in yourself."

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